Single Sprinkler Controls Fire in Three-Car Garage

This fire sprinkler save comes to us from Vickie Pritchett, NFSA’s Executive Officer, and highlights the importance for all of us to practice what we preach. “We need to practice what we preach and live what we love.”

This is a great example of getting back from an industry we all give to.

Vickie shared that it’s an honor to serve with Dan Finnegan on the IAFC Fire & Life Safety Board, and we appreciate all the ways he is involved with the codes process along with our Vice President of Codes, Standards, and Public Fire Protection, Jeff Hugo. Dan shared this awesome fire sprinkler save that makes our Friday!

Fire Protection Engineer Bob Schifiliti experienced the #fastestwater difference firsthand when a fire began in his three-car garage. From Bob Schifiliti:

On 5/29/20 we had a fire in our attached three car garage at about 11:23 PM. A single sprinkler operated and controlled the fire. The entire house and garage (except attics) are protected with an antifreeze system. My System Sensor VSR-SF waterflow switch responded and activated the sprinkler zone on my FC-72 fire alarm control unit. The zone reported through my Honeywell Vista system to our supervising station (Rapid Response) who called the fire department about the same time as my backup 911 call. The fire department responded and completed extinguishment. Two Fenwal PSD 7115 smoke detectors in the office and one in the closet with the FACU (common wall to garage) responded. In addition, a 1st floor wireless combination smoke and CO detector also responded.

The fire cause is undetermined. Origin was below a shelf, behind my rolling tool chest.

For those in the business, you know that a residential fire usually destroys everything in the room of origin either by direct fire and heat or by smoke and water. Not here. That single sprinkler contained the fire – although there was some horizontal spread under the 2 ft deep x 8 ft wide x 12 ft high shelves. I’m sure the 12 ft 4 in. ceilings and the 5/8 sheetrock with plaster coat all helped.

There were three cars in the garage at the time. The two farthest from the origin got pretty dirty, but no thermal damage. The car closest to the origin was my 1989 BMW E30, 325iX. It had a cover on it and the front left fender was just a few feet from the area of origin. It was covered in debris, soot and broken glass. The next morning, we removed the cover and drove the clean, undamaged car out.

We got a little smoke and resulting odor in my office directly over the garage. Also some in the 1st floor entry near the garage – the fire dept. opened doors and windows. That’s all been cleaned.

Most of the tools, car parts and other items stored on the wooden shelves were damaged or not worth salvaging. The rest of the garage and contents cleaned up fine.

We’ve been pretty busy with demolition and clean up. Now we are getting ready to do the repairs. I’ve been wanting to do a deep clean and reorganization of the garage for a few years. This is not the way I wanted to go about it.

It really is different being on this side of a loss. So far, I have to say that the insurance, board-up, demo, clean-up and reconstruction teams have been great.